Complete Live Report
- 168.4km remaining from 168.4km
The peloton has navigated the neutralised zone in Neuchatel and the first road stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie is underway. A shade over 168km separate them from the finish in La Chaux-de-Fonds, with some 2989 metres of total climbing on the agenda today, including five category 2 ascents.
Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) wears the yellow jersey after winning yesterday's prologue. The general classification picture is as follows:
1 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida 0:05:06
2 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:01
3 Tom Bohli (Swi) UAE Team Emirates
4 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:04
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
6 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin
7 Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:05
8 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team
9 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
11 Patrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team
12 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:00:06
13 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
14 Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
15 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb
16 Filippo Ganna (Ita) Team Sky 0:00:07
17 Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First 0:00:08
18 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
19 Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb
20 Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
The peloton is being propelled by a tailwind in the initial part of the stage and there is a brisk pace in these opening kilometres.
- 159km remaining from 168.4km
A group of 13 riders, including Chad Haga (Sunweb), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Diego Rosa (Team Ineos) has built up a small lead over the peloton.
- 150km remaining from 168.4km
The peloton was initially reluctant to let these escapees go clear, but their lead is now out to 45 seconds. The riders in front are: Chad Haga (Team Sunweb), Diego Rosa (Team Ineos), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data), William Bonnet (Groupama-FDJ), Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Simon Pellaud (Switzerland), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma), Lukasz Owsian (CCC Team), Patrick Schelling (Switzerland), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) and Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates).
The escapees are swinging away from Lac de Neuchatel and towards the first of the day's climbs, the category 2 haul up Fontanezier.
- 145km remaining from 168.4km
Haga, Capecchi and the escapees have 1:20 in hand on the bunch as they begin the climb of Fontanezier. The best-placed rider on GC in the break is Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), who began the day 9th overall at 5 seconds.
The break's lead extends to 1:40 on the climb, though Thomson is beginning to lose contact with the move.
- 138km remaining from 168.4km
Pellaud leads the escapees over the top of the climb with a lead of almost two minutes on the peloton. Thomson will hope he can get back on over the other side.
A number of riders in the peloton were struggling on that climb, including Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep). It's been a brisk start to proceedings and there is precious little respite to be had all day long.
- 133km remaining from 168.4km
Thomson has been caught by the peloton. Twelve riders remain out in front, with a lead of 1:45 over the bunch.
A reminder of the 12 riders at the head of the race: Chad Haga (Team Sunweb), Diego Rosa (Team Ineos), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep), William Bonnet (Groupama-FDJ), Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Simon Pellaud (Switzerland), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma), Lukasz Owsian (CCC Team), Patrick Schelling (Switzerland), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) and Manuele Mori (UAE Team Emirates).
The twelve leaders approach the summit of the day's second climb, the category 2 Mauborget, still with a lead of almost two minutes on the peloton.
- 130km remaining from 168.4km
Pellaud is a man on a mission today. The Swiss rider leads the break over the summit of Mauborget. They have 1:57 in hand on the bunch.
Away from the Tour de Romandie, Team Sky formally became Team Ineos today at a launch in Yorkshire. Amid great secrecy, journalists were requested to convene this morning at King’s Cross Station – we can only assume at Platform 9¾ – before catching a train to be briefed by fracking’s Jim Ratcliffe and management speak’s Dave Brailsford at an undisclosed location. Dan Benson has this dispatch from Blofeld’s lair, aka Linton, Yorkshire.
- 120km remaining from 168.4km
Bodnar, Pellaud, Haga and the escapees stretch their advantage out beyond the two-minute mark. Diego Rosa is first through the first intermediate sprint after 47km.
- 108km remaining from 168.4km
The break's lead chugs out towards three minutes. Bahrain-Merida set the tempo in the peloton, where all of the riders who were struggling on the first two climbs are now safely in situ.
Defending champion Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) is using the Tour de Romandie to fine tune his form for the Giro d'Italia, but he put himself in pole position to retain his title with second place in yesterday's prologue. The Slovenian spent much of April training at altitude, but hit the ground running in Neuchatel. "I've just returned from an altitude camp, so you always have to see and find out how things look to be going. My shape and my prospects, however, are good," said Roglic. Read more here.
- 96km remaining from 168.4km
Into the final 100km for the escapees, who have 3:23 in hand on the peloton. The next climb on the agenda is the category 2 ascent of Le Haute-de-la-Côte.
Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) has crashed in the peloton and has been forced to abandon the race. The Briton had begun the Tour de Romandie with a solid 6th place in yesterday's prologue.
- 83km remaining from 168.4km
The break hits the base of Le Haut-de-la-Côte (3.6km at 8.6%) with a buffer of 3:40 over the peloton.
There has been a considerable injection of urgency in the peloton on this climb, and the break's lead has dropped inside three minutes. Once again, a number of riders are being dropped from the rear of the bunch as the gradient stiffens.
EF Education first are setting the pace in the peloton on the climb as the break's advantage falls further.
- 76km remaining from 168.4km
Diego Rosa led the break over the summit of Le Haut-de-la-Côte with a buffer of 2:25 over the peloton.
The speed remains high in the peloton over other side of the climb and the break's lead has dropped inside two minutes.
- 70km remaining from 168.4km
The gap continues to drop, and now stands at 1:20. Viviani, meanwhile, is among a group of riders distanced by the peloton on the climb and endeavouring to regain contact.
Away from the Tour de Romandie, Marcel Kittel has pulled out of this week's Tour de Yorkshire, citing health issues. Read more here.
- 62km remaining from 168.4km
The next climb on the menu will be the Col de la Vue des Alpes, the summit of which comes with 42km remaining. The final ascent, the Col de la Tourne, comes a little over 25km from the finish.
The race approaches the finish line in Le Chaux-de-Fonds for the first time before tackling a 54km loop that takes in the Col de la Vue des Alpes and the Col de la Tourne. 1:30 the gap.
Jumbo-Visma, Bahrain-Merida and EF Education First lead the peloton in pursuit of the escapees. Viviani, meanwhile, is in a group some 6 minutes down on the leaders.
- 48km remaining from 168.4km
The break is fragmenting on the slopes of the Col de la Vue des Alpes, with Haga and Rosa among those pushing on in front.
Gougeard, Pellaud, Rosa, Haga, Capecchi, Owsian, Vingegaard and Vanhoucke are the eight riders who remain at the front on the approach to the summit of the penultimate climb.
- 45km remaining from 168.4km
Pellaud leads Rosa over the top of the Col de la Vue des Alpes, while EF Education First set the tempo in the peloton, 1:14 behind.
- 42km remaining from 168.4km
The eight riders who remain at the head of the race are: Chad Haga (Team Sunweb), Diego Rosa (Team Ineos), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Simon Pellaud (Switzerland), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma), Lukasz Owsian (CCC Team) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal). The reduced peloton is at 1:15.
Jumbo-Visma are contributing to the pace-setting at the head of the peloton, which allows Vingegaard licence to sit on the back of the break.
- 36km remaining from 168.4km
The break's lead has dropped to 50 seconds amid clear blue skies in the hinterland of La Chaux-de-Fonds.
- 32km remaining from 168.4km
The break approach the base of the final categorised climb, the Col de la Tourne (4.2km at 7.2%), with a lead of 33 seconds over a peloton that still includes some fast finishers, including Sam Bennett and Sonny Colbrelli.
- 30km remaining from 168.4km
On the climb, the break's lead continues to crumble. Pellaud tries to breathe some life into their effort, but the gap is down to just 13 seconds.
- 29km remaining from 168.4km
The peloton is almost upon the break on the Col de la Tourne. Gougeard, Pellaud and Owsian rage against the dying of the light and press on, but their resistance won't last long.
The escapees are caught. Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) sets the tempo at the head of a reduced peloton, but there are still a number of fast men in situ in this group.
Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) goes on the offensive and Carthy follows. This duo has a small lead over the bunch.
Overall leader Jan Tratnik is in difficulty on the climb and he loses contact with the bunch. He will not wear the yellow jersey tomorrow.
- 27.5km remaining from 168.4km
Carthy and Brambilla are brought back, and another pairing take up the reins. Kenny Elissonde (Ineos) and Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) have a small lead over the peloton.
Hugh Carthy has resumed his pace-making duties at the head of the bunch. He brings Elissonde and Peters to heel, and he is also whittling down the peloton significantly on this climb. GC men like Geraint Thomas and Ilnur Zakarin are placed towards the front keeping an eye on proceedings.
- 27km remaining from 168.4km
Michael Albasini is among the next tranche of riders to be distanced by Carthy's pace-making. There are 50 or so riders left in the front group. Thomas sits in second wheel for the time being.
- 26km remaining from 168.4km
A fine effort from Hugh Carthy, who leads the reduced front group over the top of the Col de la Tourne. Sonny Colbrelli is among the riders to have survived the cull on this ascent.
The climbing doesn't end with the Col de la Tourne this afternoon. There are still some unclassified undulations before the finish, and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) takes advantage of one to go on the offensive.
- 24km remaining from 168.4km
Riccardo Zoidl (CCC) joins Buchmann on the front and they have a small margin over a very reduced peloton.
- 19km remaining from 168.4km
Buchmann is now alone at the head of the race with a lead of 17 seconds over the peloton. The German has picked up a 3-second time bonus at the second intermediate sprint.
- 17.5km remaining from 168.4km
No one team is taking charge of the chase and Buchmann's lead is extending on this long sweeping descent. His gap is out to 24 seconds.
- 16km remaining from 168.4km
Carthy leads the small peloton once again, with Thomas and James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on his wheel. Buchmann's lead is 30 seconds.
- 13km remaining from 168.4km
Buchmann is pedalling very strongly on this plateau that follows the Col de la Tourne, and he stretches his lead out to 35 seconds over a chasing group where Carthy continues to perform all of the pace-making. Geraint Thomas and Ineos teammate Dylan van Baarle sit on his wheel.
Buchmann begins an unclassified climb with a lead of 38 seconds over the chasing group. The German shows no signs of relenting. Van Baarle takes up the chase in the bunch.
Geraint Thomas attacks from the peloton on this climb and has David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) for company as they open a small gap.
- 12km remaining from 168.4km
Michael Woods accelerates in pursuit of Thomas and Gaudu, who have trimmed Buchmann's lead down to 17 seconds.
Thomas is delivering his most notable display of the season so far. The Welshman is cruising across the gap towards Buchmann with Gaudu on his wheel. Woods is on the brink of joining them.
- 11km remaining from 168.4km
Buchmann leads over the top of the unclassified climb with a 10-second lead over Thomas, Gaudu and Woods. The peloton is a further 10 seconds or so back.
- 8.5km remaining from 168.4km
Thomas, Woods and Gaudu are almost within touching distance of Buchmann on this descent.
Primoz Roglic senses the danger and the Slovenian is hurtling down the descent at the head of the peloton in pursuit of Thomas et al.
- 7km remaining from 168.4km
Thomas, Gaudu and Woods are tackling another short incline and still in pursuit of Buchmann, who is gamely clutching a 10-second buffer.
- 6km remaining from 168.4km
Thomas drags Gaudu and Woods up to Buchmann on this unclassified climb. Four riders in front.
- 5.5km remaining from 168.4km
The four leaders don't have much of a buffer over the reduced peloton, however. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) sets the tempo, and the gap is at around 10 seconds.
Gaudu accelerates on the front, but it won't prevent the four leaders from being caught by this fragmenting group of favourites.
- 5km remaining from 168.4km
Gaudu kicks alone just as the break is caught by the chasing group of 20 or so riders and the road begins to flatten out again. The Frenchman has a small advantage.
- 4km remaining from 168.4km
This is a game effort from Gaudu, but he won't last too long as Winner Anacona (Movistar) drags the severely reduced chasing group back to his rear wheel.
- 3.5km remaining from 168.4km
After Gaudu is brought back, Zakarin has a go, but the Russian is not granted any leeway.
- 3km remaining from 168.4km
Just 20 or so riders remain in contention in the final 3km, and there seems a distinct of lack of willing chasers if a rider has the legs to open a gap.
- 2km remaining from 168.4km
Damien Howson is the next to summon an attack, but he, too, is pegged back, before the pace relents.
- 1.7km remaining from 168.4km
Sensing a lull, Zakarin kicks alone and opens a small gap. And, at this precise moment, the host broadcaster opts to show an aerial shot of La Chaux-de-Fonds...
- 1km remaining from 168.4km
We pick up the pictures again at the flamme rouge, where Geraint Thomas has caught and passed Zakarin...
Carlos Betancur (Movistar) bridges across to Thomas, and this duo approaches the finish with a small lead over the chasing group...
Thomas and Betancur are caught within sight of the line. Howson opens the sprint from distance, but Roglic and Gaudu are also prominent...
Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) wins stage 1 of the Tour de Romandie.
Roglic delivered a fine sprint to hold off Gaudu for the stage honours. The Slovenian will also take over the yellow jersey from his fellow countryman Jan Tratnik.
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:15:18
2 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
4 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
5 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
7 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Movistar Team
8 Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana Pro Team
9 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert
General classification after stage 1:
1 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:20:15
2 Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:10
3 David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:12
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:00:13
5 Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:14
6 Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:15
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:00:17
8 James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:18
9 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:19
Primoz Roglic is asked if he was expecting to win today's stage. "Not really. It was more to start racing again after quite some time after Tirreno. It was a really hard day for me, not easy with a lot of climbs but at the end I managed to come with a smaller group to the end. It’s nice to win the sprint because I’ve lost quite a lot in the sprint, it’s a nice feeling that I’ve finally won," says Roglic, who downplays his prospects of overall victory. "We'll just see. I’m going day by day. Steven [Kruijswijk] is a really strong guy we have here also. We go day by day and for sure we will try to do our best."
Thanks for following our live coverage of the Tour de Romandie this afternoon. We'll be back with more tomorrow. In the meantime, you'll find a full report, results and pictures of stage 1 here.